Beluga Noble vodka is a distinctive chemical-free vodka with true Siberian provenance. Its lightly sweet flavors of vanilla, oatmeal and honey get spicier on the back palate, leading to a dry and bracing finish.
Classification: vodka distilled from Siberian winter wheat
Company: Beluga North America
Distillery: Mariinsk, Siberia
Still type: Column still
Released: 2002; ongoing
Aged: rested in stainless steel for 30 days before bottling
- The water and wheat with which Beluga is distilled are locally sourced, giving Noble a true Siberian provenance.
- While vodka is legally allowed to contain a small percentage of chemical additives post-distillation, such as glycerin for a smoother mouthfeel, Beluga is chemical-free.
- It’s said to be flavored after distillation with oats, honey and milk thistle, which may not be to the liking of vodka purists who prefer it unadulterated.
Color: Crystal-clear, as vodka should be
Nose: Grain is at the forefront—think a savory bowl of oatmeal—with a little sweet citrus underneath.
Palate: When tasted neat, it’s lightly sweet with hints of vanilla, making way for oatmeal lightly drizzled with honey. Things get drier on the back of the palate, with a light spice developing. Drunk chilled (because who drinks vodka at room temperature?), there are more dry, bracing herbal notes as well as a bit of tart grapefruit.
Finish: Clean, dry and lingering longer than most vodkas, it’s quite pleasant and reminiscent of the aroma, heavy on the cereal notes and with a little tart citrus complementing it.
The Beluga brand was launched in 2002, but the Mariinsk distillery in Siberia, where it’s made, has been in operation since 1900. Beluga Noble, one of several vodkas in the Beluga line, is distilled from local Siberian winter wheat, and the water is sourced from nearby 1,000-foot-deep artesian wells. Post-distillation, it’s rested in stainless steel tanks for 30 days, which is said to produce a smoother, rounder flavor.
Beluga Noble isn’t considered a flavored vodka, but it’s said to be very lightly flavored post-distillation with honey and extracts of oat and milk thistle, just enough to give a distinct and delightful note. As it gets colder, it gets better and more complex. The best way to drink it is straight from the freezer, when the winter wheat from which it’s distilled makes its presence most felt, along with the oats and honey. The bottle alludes to the famed caviar, and Beluga Noble and caviar is indeed an excellent pairing. If you haven’t got any caviar handy, however, it also works well in any vodka-based cocktail and makes a spectacular Martini.
For those who still think vodka should be odorless and tasteless, Beluga Noble may be a little over-the-top. For fans who understand that vodkas are more than alcoholic bottled water, it’s a great one.
The raised metal sturgeon featured on every bottle (an allusion to the Beluga caviar with which the vodka is ideally meant to be paired) is affixed by hand.
The bottom line: Beluga Noble is glorious proof that vodka can and should have a distinct flavor profile. Whether drunk neat, in a Martini or mixed into another cocktail, it’s unmistakably Beluga.